Oregon 4-H program receives $750,000 grant for outreach

June 10, 2003

CORVALLIS - The Oregon 4-H Youth Development Program's efforts to reach out to Oregon's Latino population has received a boost from a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

Spread over five years, the grant will support the Oregon 4-H New Communities Project, which is aimed at reaching and involving Latino youth and families in Oregon 4-H programs, according to Beverly Hobbs, Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H youth specialist and project leader.

The Oregon 4-H Program, which is administered by the OSU Extension Service, conducts youth club activities that help young people develop and apply life skills. Club members also learn leadership skills and join in citizen involvement projects in their communities.

The New Communities Project grant follows a similar grant the Oregon 4-H Program received from USDA in 1997, Hobbs noted. That grant funded initial efforts by OSU Extension 4-H faculty and staff to attract Latino youth to 4-H programs, she said.

"We used the 1997 grant to launch the Oregon Outreach Project in Hood River, Marion, Multnomah, and Washington counties," said Hobbs. "That effort gave use a great start in developing ways to engage Latino youth while establishing a foundation of trust and relationships that support Latino involvement in 4-H."

"The new grant will allow us to build on what we've already accomplished as we work toward providing more and better opportunities for Latino youth to get involved in 4-H," Hobbs added.

The New Communities grant was awarded competitively through a USDA program that funds development of outreach projects designed to help youth and families from at-risk environments.

Jackson and Marion Counties will serve as demonstration sites for 4-H programs developed under the new grant, Hobbs said. Part of the grant funding will be used to hire bilingual/bicultural 4-H program assistants to work on outreach efforts in each county.

Latino youth comprise more than 12 percent of the student population in Oregon, yet they have seldom become involved in youth development organizations, said Hobbs. She hopes the grant will help the efforts of 4-H to reverse that trend.

Author: Bob Rost
Source: Beverly Hobbs